Curtains

Book by Rupert Holmes and Peter Stone
Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb


Directed by Meghan Randolph
March 14 to 30, 2014


Read the Reviews:
Waukesha Freeman, WaukeshaNOW

Photos:
Click on a photo to see a larger image

Photos By Carroll Studios Of Photography

Volunteer of the Production

Jim Mallmann

Sponsored In Part By

WCT projects are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin.

Cast 

Abby Adams

Bambi Bernét

Phillip Alonge

Johnny Harmon

Dawn Baldwin

Carmen Bernstein

Jacqueline Boelkow

Niki Harris

Marann Curtis

Georgia Hendricks

Isaac Farrell

Bobby Pepper

Marty Graffenius

Christopher Belling

Jim Halverson

Lt. Frank Cioffi

Rachel Hafner

Roberta Wooster / Ensemble

Bryan Hermsen

Aaron Fox

Matt Knudson

Daryl Grady

Jim Mallmann

Oscar Shapiro

Mary Melter

Jessica Cranshaw / Frances

Becky Miller

Mona Page / Ensemble

Jacob Rankin

Randy Dexter / Ensemble

Giovanina "Josie" Ray

Marjorie Cook

James Showalter

Sidney Bernstein

Molly Smith

Sasha Iljinsky / Ensemble

Emily Thompson

Jane Setler / Ensemble

Patty Wilson

Detective O'Farrell

Production Staff 

Director

Meghan Randolph

Music Director

Anne Van Deusen

Stage Manager / Co-Properties Designer

Kavyn Custer

Scenic Designer / Co-Properties Designer / Master Carpenter

Chris Budish

Costume Designer

Sallie Burkard

Choreographer

Chelsea Gallo

Lighting Designer

Nick Da Via

Sound Designer

Keith Handy

Assistant Costume Designer

Sharon Sohner

Wig Master

Anthony Mackie

Assistant Stage Manager

Molly Smith

Lead Carpenter / Fabricator

Alex Kreuzer

Lead Scenic Painter

Wendy Rightler

Set Construction Crew

Rachel Boeder
Garrett DeMeyer
Jim Mallmann
Kelly Rightler
James Schowalter
Dick Schroeder
Kathy Schroeder
Debbie Volden
Kenneth Wendt
Jessica Wenum

Costume Construction Crew

Aleta Bernard
Sue Hrobar
Lee Piekarski
Sharon Sohner

Light and Sound Crew

Jon Jones
Kevin Mueller
Sean Piquett

Right On Cue Programmer

Jon Jones

Civic Theatre’s ‘Curtains’ a whodunit musical comedy

By Julie McHale - TimeOut Theater Critic
March 20, 2014

WAUKESHA - "Curtains" by John Kander and Fred Ebb, their last work, does not measure up to their best musicals - "Cabaret," "Kiss of the Spider Woman" and "Chicago." But it is, nonetheless, a fun piece, combining comedy, mystery and a tongue-in-cheek tribute to some of the traditions of the American musical.

The Waukesha Civic Theatre is presenting "Curtains" through March 30. Opening-night jitters were apparent at times with forgotten lines and missed cues, but the cast soldiered on with courage and resolve. Some of these problems will probably disappear as their confidence grows. The inclusion of many new faces is refreshing and always a sign that a community theater is thriving. There were no stunning vocalists, but even those with pitch problems made up for their deficits with style and earnestness.

As the play opens, the cast and crew of "Robin Hood" have just suffered through a rather disastrous opening night, and the producers are bemoaning their fate as they discuss the mean-spirited critic of the Boston Globe who has just panned their efforts. The leading lady collapses during the final bow, and as they discuss with the director who should take over for Jessica, they get the news that she has died.

Enter Lt. Frank Cioffi, who, along with his role as criminal investigator, happens to be a musical theater buff. Much of the humor derives from his switching from one role to the other, sometimes even taking over as director at rehearsals. He, of course, falls in love with one of the performers - Niki, an understudy for Jessica. This secretive romance, along with the defunct relationship between composer Aaron and lyricist-performer Georgia, plus the conflicted Bernstein family’s ongoing histrionics, constitute the chief alliances in the plot and pique our ongoing interest.

Meanwhile, during the quarantine Cioffi has issued, several other characters are mysteriously murdered (I’ll never tell), as some of the aforementioned relationships begin to thrive while others deteriorate.

The most well-developed characters in the show include Jim Halverson as Cioffi, Jacqueline Boelkow as Niki Harris, Abby Adams as Bambi Bernt, Bryan Hermsen as Aaron Fox, Marty Graffenius as Christopher Belling, Dawn Baldwin as Carmen Bernstein. All are well cast, but the standouts are Halverson, Adams and Graffenius.

Dancing honors go to Boelkow, Isaac Farrell and Adams. Stage director Johnny, played by Phillip Alonge, also deserves special mention for credibly capturing the many duties and stresses of the harried manager, the man responsible for coordinating the myriad details of putting on a big show.

The best solo numbers were "Coffee Shop Nights" by Cioffi, "I Miss the Music" by Fox and "It’s a Business" by Bernstein. The cleverest ensemble numbers are "The Woman’s Dead," "Thataway" (led by vocalist Marann Curtis) and the final rendition of the ever-recurring "In the Same Boat."

Costumes by Sallie Burkard were wonderful; set designer Chris Budish’s afforded easy and swift manipulation. Overall direction by Meghan Randolph offered the audience an enjoyable experience.

Review Title

By Reviewer Name
Posted: Month 16, 2012

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Waukesha Civic Theatre's 'Curtains' opens onto mystery and music

By Marilyn Jozwik - WaukeshaNOW Theater Critic
March 19, 2014

Dance and choreography are generally not a forte of community theater. You may find a smattering of accomplished dancers in a production, but it's not often you get solid hoofing from the entire cast.

Chalk this one up for Waukesha Civic Theatre and its presentation of Kander and Ebb's "Curtains." The show is a musical comedy murder-mystery, three popular genres rolled into one.

The story concerns a theater troupe putting on a musical that looks a lot like "Oklahoma" — there's even a tune called "Kansasland." On opening night, the show's star, who is woefully incompetent, collapses during the final curtain call. The cast and crew learn a bit later that she has not only died, but was poisoned.

Lt. Frank Cioffi comes to the theater and tells the troupe they are all under suspicion for the murder and they can't leave the theater. There are subplots that include musical collaborators, and once-married, Aaron (Bryan Hermsen) and Georgia (Marann Curtis), and the show's star Bobby (Isaac Farrell), who pines for Georgia. The show's director, Christopher (Marty Graffenius), is a clichéd egomaniac; Carmen (Dawn Baldwin), the tough co-producer, wants to go on with the show despite the horrible reviews; and controversy surrounds the question of who should replace the fallen star.

Much of the humor comes from Cioffi, an amateur thespian who spends just as much time offering suggestions for the show as he does trying to solve the murder. The lines between reality and stagecraft blur as the investigator becomes deeply invested in the show while a murderer is being sought.

The musical numbers in WCT's show are handled with great verve, the costumes and set design are fabulous and the singing and aforementioned dancing are top-notch. But unlike the prohibition era "Chicago," another Kander — Ebb musical collaboration, this show lacks interesting characters like Velma, Roxie, Billy Flynn and Mama Morton and hard-hitting numbers like "Cell Block Tango" and "Mr. Cellophane."

The "Curtains" central character is Cioffi, who is attracted to a cast member which complicates his duties as faux director and murder investigator. But, as is often the case with murder-mysteries, the characters play second fiddle to the twists and turns of the plot.

Jim Halverson as Cioffi has wonderful stage presence, dances nicely with Jacqueline Boelkow — who plays Niki — in "A Tough Act to Follow," but on opening night he seemed a rehearsal short of nailing the dialogue.

The show incorporates some clever tunes into the story, such as "She's Dead," which describes the cast's indifference to the star's passing, and "He Did It," in which cast members make nocturnal forays about the theater with flashlights, nervous that a killer is among them. The fine-tuning of "In the Same Boat" for the troupe's show and its final incarnation are a cute diversion.

Another fun number is the dance hall scene, "Thataway," part of the show within a show. A few more fellas would have been nice for the number, but Curtis and the ensemble give it lots of pizzazz while the dance hall girls, and their costumes, give the scene lots of life. Especially appealing is Jacob Rankin as Randy whose expressive gestures really engage the audience.

Yet, there are a number of quite forgettable tunes and some that just seemed borrowed, like "Show People," which sounds a lot like "There's No Business Like Show Business."

Boelkow as the slightly dippy Niki gives another mature, poised performance and adds some nice touches of comedy, especially when she finds a gun backstage. Abby Adams is the perfect blonde Bambi, the daughter of the co-producer who just won't admit to her talent. Adams is light as a feather as she charms her way through an Indian dance in the "Kansasland" scene.

Anthony Mackie, who does such a fine job for WCT as wigmaster, couldn't have been a hair better with these fabulous choices for coifs, while choreographer Chelsea Gallo has the dance numbers crisp and lively.

While this wasn't WCT's finest moment, it was a fun — and fast-moving — nearly three-hour show filled with high quality music and dance.

Student Discount is available for children and any patron who is able to display a current student ID. Senior discount applies to all patrons 60 years or older.

For this particular performance, all tickets left unsold one hour before curtain will be sold for whatever the patron can afford.

Subscriber Discount is available to any subscriber for unlimited additional tickets outside their package.

10 ticket minimum per performance required.

Educational Group Rate is only available for all educational groups and Boy and Girl Scout troops. 10 ticket minimum per performance required.

Volunteer of the Production - Jim Mallmann

Jim put a tremendous amount of time and effort into this show. He came early to rehearsals and on days when he didn’t need to be there to help with set construction. At rehearsals, he was positive and encouraging to fellow cast mates. One member of the cast said "Jim is the very model of a WCT volunteer." Another said "… he is so humble and doesn’t seek recognition for all of the time he commits."